Stuart McCall’s men narrowly lost out 4-3 to Sky Bet League One side Doncaster Rovers in a behind-closed-doors pre-season friendly at the Utilita Energy Stadium.
In a tie which saw in-game coverage forbidden due to local COVID-19 lockdown restrictions across the Bradford district, goals from Kurtis Guthrie (2) and Billy Clarke were not enough to save the Bantams from defeat.
City started an entertaining game in a promising manner, with Zeli Ismail and Callum Cooke creating half-chances.
However, the opportunities were both squandered as Doncaster kept the attacks at bay - inside the opening five minutes.
Despite an open beginning, the away side scored the first goal of the game - through a trialist.
The frontman found himself free inside the penalty area before slotting home halfway through the opening period.
Having found themselves 1-0 down, McCall’s men drew level after the interval.
Billy Clarke was left open in the box before finding the back of the net to level scores.
Ten minutes later and City had taken the lead for the first time - on the 59th-minute mark.
Second-half substitute Kurtis Guthrie made no mistake in front of goal, dinking over the Rovers goalkeeper to complete the turnaround.
Nonetheless, Darren Moore’s men soon hit back courtesy of Fejiri Okenabirhie, who rifled the ball past Sam Hornby.
Despite losing the lead, the Bantams were soon back ahead - through Guthrie - in the 70th minute.
The forward added to his earlier strike, bending in from the edge of the area to see the pendulum swing once again in favour of the home side.
Nine minutes after City re-took the lead, Rovers had again pulled one back - courtesy of James Coppinger.
The attacker delicately chipped the ball into the bottom left corner to complete a neat team move and level the affair once more.
As the encounter entered the final 10 minutes, the South Yorkshire outfit completed the scoring, netting a fourth from the penalty spot.
Okenabirhie was brought down by Ben Richards-Everton before converting from 12 yards out - making it 4-3 to the visitors.
CITY: Richard O’Donnell (Sam Hornby 60’); Paudie O’Connor (Ben Richards-Everton 45’), Anthony O’Connor (Levi Sutton 60’), Harry Pritchard (Connor Shanks 60’), Callum Cooke (Kian Scales 60’); Clayton Donaldson (Lee Novak 45’), Zeli Ismail (Tyler French 60’), Billy Clarke (Kurtis Guthrie 59’), Elliot Watt (Jorge Sikora 60’); Reece Staunton (Finn Cousin-Dawson 60’), Connor Wood (Jackson Longridge 60’).
GOALS: Billy Clarke (49’), Kurtis Guthrie (61’, 70’).
DONCASTER FIRST HALF: Louis Jones; Danny Amos, Ben Blythe, Tom Anderson, Brad Halliday; Jason Lokilo, Ben Whiteman, Trialist 1, Trialist 2; Trialist 3, Liam Ravenhill.
DONCASTER SECOND HALF: Trialist 4 (GK); AJ Greaves, Joe Wright, Branden Horton, Danny Amos; Lirak Hasani, Madger Gomes, Jon Taylor, James Coppinger; Fejiri Okenabirhie, Trialist 5.
GOALS: Trialist 1 (22’), Okenabirhie (65’, 82’) James Coppinger (79’).